PART 1 - Liège, Wallonia's main office destination in 2019
PART 2 - Liège office pipeline will keep stimulating demand in uncertain times
In part two of our series on the Liège office market, we examine how the Liège office pipeline will keep stimulating demand in the context of COVID-19. We check in with our local expert, Stéphane Moermans - Head of Office Wallonia at Cushman & Wakefield.
For several years, occupiers and pundits alike have been clamouring for a renewal and an increase in quality of the Liège office stock. Owners and developers are now answering their call in numbers.
As occupier demand increases annually and the vacancy rate decreases (3.55% in 2019) (Read our first article for more info) – the time has never been more favourable for the Liège office market to enter its next phase. Even the anticipated market slowdown provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic (more on this in our next article) is unlikely to dampen occupier demand for new spaces in the medium term. With this in mind, we examine what is in store in terms of new offerings (projects with building permits or already under construction) on the Liège office market over the next handful of years.
As far as previous growth is concerned, the stock has registered a net average annual increase of 22,000 sq m over the 2015-2019 period (including the delivery of the 39,000 sq m Tour Paradis in 2015). Over the 2020-2023 period, this figure will increase to 33,500 sq m, i.e. a total of 134,000 sq m to be added to the stock. In addition, the pipeline includes a much-required boost from speculative developments which will amount to as much as 84% of new developments over the next four years. Only moderate delays are expected as a setback from the current standstill from construction works resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
CHART: LIÈGE OFFICE DELIVERIES AND PIPELINE, SQ M
We see several advantages to the mass of new developments foreseen on the Liège office market. In particular:
◆ Alleviating some of the pressure stemming from the imbalance between available supply and demand.
◆ Attracting net demand from occupiers located outside of Liège thus far.
◆ Triggering the possible renewal or reconversion of spaces which will be vacated in favour of new schemes.
Stéphane Moermans, Head of Office Wallonia
Most of the usual main poles of activity in Liège will see new developments added. We highlight a few currently under construction or with permits building permits per district below:
❖ CBD: En Féronstrée 54 (11,500 sq m), Grand’Poste (8,800 sq m)
❖ Guillemins: Liège Office Center (15,000 sq m), Paradis Express (21,000 sq m)
❖ Periphery: L’Escale (14,000 sq m), Val Saint-Lambert Free Time Park (22,000 sq m)
MAP: LIÈGE OFFICE PIPELINE 2020-2023 AND BEYOND
For the longer term, several developers on the lookout for new project opportunities have identified the Droixhe area of Liège as an interesting destination.
Stéphane Moermans, Head of Office Agency Wallonia
Three former industrial sites are to be reconverted:
- Droixhe Business Parc: Global Estate Group is developing a multi-functional business park which will include 4,000 sq m of offices on the site of a former Electrabel power plant.
- Chat Noir: an old coffee factory of more than 20,000 sq m could be reconverted into a multi-purpose venue for offices sports and MICE facilities.
- ex-Piedboeuf: the former beer bottling factory is to be redeveloped into a mixed-use complex including 1,800 sq m of offices
Next week, find out more about the deals that will shape the Liège office market in 2020 in our Part 3.